Tag Archive | Contemporary Fiction

Dreamings and Muses (by Daley Downing)

 

Title: Dreamings and Muses
Author: Daley Downing

  • Date read: December 5, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Short Stories / Contemporary / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 76 (ebook)
  • Fave character: Desmond
  • Source: I received a free ecopy of this book from the author (many thanks!) for purposes of writing an honest review; these opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsBarnes & NobleAuthor’s Blog

This is a small collection with unique, interesting, well-written stories. Not the sort of thing I read often, but they were definitely gripping! 🙂 Contains a short story, a novelette, and two pieces of flash fiction—one is sci-fi, two are contemporary with connections to fantasy, and one is… hard to define, but I suppose it’s contemporary fantasy.

The first one, “Just Pretend”, might be my favorite—I quite enjoyed the feel and setting, following a writer named Siobhan (love the name!) as she’s visiting England, semi-researching her book on the history of folklore, and gets dragged into a family party. I really liked Desmond too. He was great! And they were cute. 😉 I can’t really say much else because spoilers, but the connection to fairytales (sort of) was neat, and I really liked the writing too. 🙂 Haven’t quite decided how I feel about how it ended, and I definitely wanted there to be MORE, because I didn’t want it to end, but on the whole it was enjoyable, and I loved the details. It also felt British which was delightful. ^_^ 4 stars.

The second one, “Me and You”, was… interesting. I don’t really know what I think about it? It kept me reading and felt very real and vivid, especially the characters! I just don’t click well with some of the elements—which is just me. Contemporary isn’t my favorite for some reason, and a lot of the issues the heroine deals with just… weren’t my favorite. Entirely me, though! She’s going through an almost-breakup with her husband (which was well-resolved though!) and there’s backstory about a tragic car accident, and a character who might be her imagination… (Or a ghost… or an angel…) The main character’s a writer too, and it was in first-person-present-tense. It was very well written, which I really have to give it points for, and I liked parts of it, just not entirely my thing. 🙂 I’d call this one a novelette, as it was a longer short story. 3.5 stars.

Primitive” was more like flash-fiction, a very brief one-off sort of thing, sci-fi, mostly looking back at a previous backstory. It was interesting, I just don’t really care for sci-fi much. XD Which, again, is entirely me! It felt a little like a single scene, a window looking into a larger story, if that makes sense; it wasn’t quite a complete story, but intriguing. 3 stars.

Tad Fallows and the Quarter Pints” is another favorite, which I found intriguing and fun! I really need to re-read Masters and Beginners to remember what the entire links were, but it was neat, and I loved the humorous sort of style it started out with. 🙂 Again, very vivid, and great writing. And anything with a bookshop is bound to be fun. 😉 It was also more like flash-fiction, quite short, which made it more impressive to me that all the characters had such distinct personalities and everything! Loved the feel. 🙂 4 stars.

Overall, a couple of these weren’t really my thing, although one of those WAS extremely well written, and I enjoyed the whole collection in its way. 🙂 Recommend for those who enjoy mostly-contemporary with a dash of fantasy or sci-fi to their short stories, and just well-written, vivid tales with very real characters and the occasional dash of humor. I really like this author’s style, and so much of it was beautiful and imaginative, even in mostly-contemporary settings, and on the whole I had a good time immersing myself in these short stories for something different! 🙂

Favorite Quote

If we believe faeries are real, it brings a sense of magic to our very boring, difficult, everyday lives. It gives us a glimpse into a world of adventure, heroism, true love, and happy endings. It inspires us to pull a little magic out of ourselves, and bestow it on others.

(from Just Pretend in Dreamings and Muses by Daley Downing)

~ ~ ~

Do you like contemporary fantasy? And do you read short stories much? I don’t, but it can be fun at times! Lemme know in the comments — and isn’t the cover by Alea Harper so cute/pretty? 🙂 *has a thing for blue covers and stars*

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

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Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World by Bryan Davis (Blogtour, Review + Giveaway)

Hey, Pagelings!

I’m so excited to be joining in on the blog tour for the new book by Bryan Davis, Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World!

It’s a super-fun book about two young superheroes, and it probably took me less than seventeen seconds to get hooked and stay hooked — I couldn’t put it down! 🙂

In this post, I’m sharing a review of it — and make sure you scroll all the way down for info about the book, the author, a couple of awesome giveaways, and the other tour stops! 🙂

Title: Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World

Author: Bryan Davis

  • Date read: September 12, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Superhero / Contemporary
  • Age: Middle-Grade
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 250 (paperback)
  • Fave character: I… can’t decide who’s my favorite since I like so many of them; and the one I’m most intrigued about is a spoiler, sooo…
  • Source: The author
  • Links: Amazon • Signed CopiesGoodreads
  • Notes: I received a free copy of this book from the author (many thanks!). These opinions are entirely my own.

WANTED: A SUPERHERO TO SAVE THE WORLD is a gripping and delightful read, which I read in a day and couldn’t seem to put down.

Meet Eddie and Samantha (Sam) Hertz. They’re kids, but also superheroes—kind of—and the fate of their city (and the world) is on their small shoulders. Eddie and Sam make a great superhero team, and they have an adorable brother-sister relationship, which I absolutely loved!

Eddie is the one telling the story, and he’s a fantastic hero. This twelve year old is super smart (no pun intended, though he would have intended it because he’s fun like that), and I love all the gadgets he’s made. So fun! He’s heroic too, and goodhearted, and just… I really liked him. 🙂 Eddie’s the best. Eight year old Sam is… well, she’s adorable and I really liked her as well! I especially loved her “superhero name” and how she had a thing with long names, like with the cat. XD She’s awesome. And they’re especially awesome together. 🙂

I don’t read a lot of Middle-Grade type books, and I’ve only read one superhero novel before this one, so even though both are outside my usual reading zone, I really enjoyed this book and found it to be fresh and unique. Filled with excitement, danger, and edge-of-your-seat suspense and action, it still found time for humor, fun, and kids being kids. I was impressed with how TENSE the story is, keeping me flipping those pages. Super exciting and gripping. I loved watching Eddie and Samantha get out of things with cleverness, gadgets, and occasional superhero strength. 😉

There were so many twists in this story! Some of them I guessed, others were complete surprises. I loved them! It was so fun following the twisting plot and wondering what was going to happen next. Some of the reveals were awesome. I also loved the mystery and suspense, especially how there were a lot of mysterious characters around, and it was hard to know right away if they’re good, or bad, or… what. That was so cool! I always love it when books leave me guessing, and this was excellent in that way. 🙂

It’s really, really well written. I loved how there was SO MUCH attention to detail, without making it feel bogged down at all. I could see, hear, taste, smell, and feel everything in this setting. It was so vivid and felt like a super-cool movie—in book form, of course (which is the perfect mix for this booklover. ;)).

It has heart and humor too, and some touching or sad moments—I nearly cried a couple of times, when it was sad, or at a very touching adorable part near the end. ^_^ (SO, I wasn’t a fan of the sad things. But I got over it because I really enjoyed the book. :))

I just noticed that I must be getting old, since sometimes I worried about them because earthquakes and peril and swamps and they’re only eight and twelve… ahem. But that’s the point, of course, and having been a teenager myself not so long ago, I didn’t used to think of younger characters in terms of “protect the precious young childs!” It just makes me feel old. XD I do like that it’s suitable for all ages—so many books, even for younger children these days, seem to be dark or inappropriate or just… off, somehow. This one seemed just right for that age or anyone else, too. 🙂

I also loved how Sam and Eddie’s mom was a part of the story! You don’t see much of that in young adult or middle-grade fiction, and I loved that. 🙂 The other characters were all interesting as well! They were all so unique and quirky. I liked Barney, and Gilbert was unexpected. There’s a certain other character, who’s slightly spoiler-ish, so I won’t say much, but I’m now VERY curious/want to know more about him… or see more of him in a sequel.

Speaking of which… The book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but it does leave the door wide open for possible future books. Now I want more about Eddie and Sam and company, because that would be delightful! 😀

It’s not an absolute favorite, largely due to being outside my usual favorite genres/age-group, but for what it is, it’s absolutely fantastic and so much fun. 🙂

Overall, this was an extremely fun, vivid, suspenseful story, for readers of any age—children, young adults, or adults would all enjoy it, I think. I certainly did! Definitely recommend. 🙂


About the Book

Eddie Hertz is smart, real smart. He has to be. What other twelve-year-old patrols the streets of Nirvana alone, hoping to foil the schemes of the evil Mephisto? Since Eddie is small for his age, he trusts in his Batman-style gadgets belt and acrobatic skills as well as lots of experience, like knowing how to swing across dark alleys without being seen.

Eddie has a dream, to become like Damocles, Nirvana’s great superhero. To make that dream come true, Eddie invented a device that is supposed to give him superpowers, but using it on himself is dangerous, maybe even fatal. He doesn’t have the nerve to try it.

When Mephisto unleashes an earthquake machine on the city, Eddie gets a surprising teammate — his quirky eight-year-old sister, Samantha, who comes up with an unexpected way to help Eddie in the frantic battle to prevent the biggest earthquake of all.

Since Damocles has lost his ability to help in physical form, Eddie and Samantha are the only hope for Nirvana and the world.

Available on Amazon


About the Author

Bryan Davis is the author of several bestselling series, including Dragons in Our Midst and the Reapers Trilogy, speculative fiction for youth and adults. Bryan and his wife, Susie, work together as an author/editor team to create his imaginative tales.

Find Bryan Davis Online

Author WebsiteBook Purchase SiteFacebook PageWriting BlogTwitter: @bryandavisauthGoodreadsInstagram


Contest Giveaways

There are two giveaways on this blog tour!

The first contest’s giveaway is the winner’s choice of any Bryan Davis book, plus a Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World T-Shirt and bookmark. Enter via the Rafflecopter HERE!

The second contest holds the Grand Prize – the items from the first giveaway PLUS a complete Bryan Davis book series of the winner’s choice or a $50 Amazon gift card. To enter this one, you go through all the tour posts and gather the hidden number in each of them (which should be “hidden” fairly easy to find), including the one in this post; add them up, and you will have the key to the Grand Prize giveaway. You can read all the details in Bryan Davis’ opening post, and you can find the Grand Prize Giveaway HERE. Good luck! 🙂


Tour Schedule

Wednesday, September 20th

Tour Kickoff @ The Author’s Chair

Book Spotlight @ Backing Books

Book review and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Zerina Blossom’s Books

Book Spotlight and Review @ The Spooky Bookshelf

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Scattered Scribblings

Book Review and Character Interview @ Light and Shadows

Thursday, September 21st

Book Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Red Lettering

Spotlight and Author Interview @ The Reader Addict

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ target verified

Book Review and Character Interview @ Hidden Doorways

Book Review @ Ashley Bogner

Book Review @ The Page Dreamer (You are here)

Friday, September 22nd

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Story of Fire

Book Review @ Inkwell

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Liv K. Fisher

Book Review @ writinganyone

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Superheroes @ Dreams and Dragons

Author Interview and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ March to a Different Drum

Book Spotlight @ Author Jaye L. Knight

Saturday, September 23rd

Author Interview @ Jessi L. Roberts, author

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Book Lovers Life

Book Review and Character Interview @ Verbosity Reviews

Book Spotlight, Author Interview and YOU WRITE: Superheroes @ Creature of Graphite

Character Interview @ Wanderer’s Pen

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Adventure Awaits

Sunday, September 24th

Tour  Wrapup @ The Author’s Chair (Winners will be announced here after the contest giveaway deadline which is September 27.)


Have you read any superhero novels? Any to recommend to me? And does this one sound fun? Because it is! What would your superhero power be?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Ten Books I Enjoyed Last Year Outside My Typical Reading Zone

Here’s a list of books I read last year that were not what I typically read, but which I enjoyed all the same… mostly contemporary stuff because I’m not big into the genre but dabbled in it more recently. (Fantasy of a vaguely medieval nature is pretty much my genre, so some things outside it I just consider “weird.)

(Please note that I almost included several Diana Wynne Jones books, because they pretty much defy genre… but Diana Wynne Jones is a distinct category/genre herself in my mind, so that doesn’t count as being outside my typical reading zone, because I’ll read anything with her name on it. So I’m excluding those. We’ve got to be fair to the other poor books…)

The first six are Contemporary, but I’m dividing them into straightforward contemporary fiction, and contemporary fantasy. I don’t know why, but there’s somehow a HUGE difference…

CONTEMPORARY

heist society

Heist Society / Uncommon Criminals / Perfect Scoundrels / Double Crossed (free short story on Kindle) – by Ally Carter

5starratingI know, I’m cheating slightly with a series… But I have to put them all here together in place of one. These were so much fun. YA heist/con-artist books, clean and fun, and well-written — the writing is sort of humorous and just… yes. I quite enjoyed them and wish there were more! Also notable for a certain character, namely Hale, who is awesome. (What is his first name?? We may never know…)

31ThePenderwicksInSpring

The Penderwicks in Spring – Jeanne Birdsall

5starratingI waited so long for this book and was delighted with it. In a sense, I almost SHOULDN’T have liked it because some of it was sad or bittersweet, but it was also so hilarious and awesome and PENDERWICK-y, even though it’s set several years after the other books. Also all of the myriad of characters were so distinct and their storylines were seamlessly juggled and just gaaah, can I sign up somewhere to write this well??

CONTEMPORARY FANTASY

bookofsight

The Book of Sight (5 stars) / The Broken Circle (3 stars) / The Secret Source (4 stars) – by Deborah Dunlevy (On Goodreads)

Again with the contemporary… but I just really enjoyed these, especially the first one. For absolutely no reason. But just… it makes me happy. A group of friends and their interactions with various fantastical creatures/happenings. I’m dying to read the fourth one, still… whyyy have I not found time to read it yet?

whitecat

White Cat / Red Glove / Black Heart (The Curseworkers Trilogy) – by Holly Black

4starratingOh my goodness, how do I even start? Um. These are super dark YA, I don’t even think they should be considered YA? But despite the darkness/content and stuff, I couldn’t help really having a blast with them. (They’re even in first-person-present-tense, which I generally hate? But I just forgot while I was reading.) The hero, Cassel, is just so snarky and hilarious and unfortunate, and the series is… I don’t know. It’s mafia crime family con-artists with magic. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE. The magic is fascinating — like, there’s four or five different “types” and people are born with different kinds, and everyone wears gloves because the magic comes from the touch of hands. These books I feel like could teach me a lot about pacing and stakes and stuff, for my writing, because just everything comes at our poor hero all at once! My goodness. I can’t fully recommend them due to content, but I really enjoyed them aside from that. But yes, definitely outside my genre/comfort zone; but I’m glad I read ’em all the same. I picked up the first one on the sole recommendation of Cait’s review on Goodreads… After I read it, I thought I didn’t need to bother reading the other two. …Then the next day I realized I was really MISSING this world! Ack. So I got the other two from the library as soon as I could, and devoured them both in a day. Sigh. Addiction is bad, isn’t it? *shakes head at self* I really hope the author will write sequels or spinoffs or something, but I doubt she will…

37TheGrimmLegacy

The Grimm Legacy – Polly Shulman

4starratingThere’s a sort of lending library of magical artifacts from fairytales, in modern-day New York… This one was fun, I enjoyed it, though I feel like it had potential to be more, if you know what I mean? But it was good. Also Aaron.

65ScepterOfTheAncients

Scepter of the Ancients (Skulduggery Pleasant #1) – Derek Landy

4starratingThis was so bizarre but I adored it all the same, because of the fantastic witty banter/dialog/snark from Skulduggery Pleasant himself. It’s set in modern-day Dublin, which is so cool, and Skulduggery is awesome, even if IS a… erm… skeleton. He’s also a detective and has the best lines and this was just rather fun even though it was also kind of scary.

…STUFF

39Illusionarium

Illusionarium – Heather Dixon

5starratingI’m considering steampunk odd/outside my general reading because I’ve only read a handful. This was my first, and I loved it so so much. (For those who haven’t, you can read my incoherent fangirl babbles on this book on my other blog.) But briefly: steampunk and alternate worlds and science-y/magic-y illusion things and sarcastic footnotes by the narrator, our hero Jonathan who’s wonderful, and then of course my favorite thing about it, the character named Lockwood who is just the best ever.

53Plenilune

Plenilune – Jennifer Freitag

5starratingUm… it’s a historical-fiction 1800s turned epic medieval fantasy on the moon story? That’s… not exactly a genre I read a lot of, since it kind of doesn’t exist. It was way too long and exhausting to read because it was so beautifully written, but a lot of it was brilliant all the same, and I really love one and a half of the characters. (Dammerung is the best ever, okay? And Rupert and I have a complicated relationship. BUT DAMMERUNG. <3)

10SkinMap

The Skin Map – Stephen R. Lawhead

5starratingOh my goodness, so much genre mashing in this one too! It defies category… It starts out Contemporary England, and then becomes some odd mix of sci-fi/fantasy with time-travel and alternate time-lines and it’s a mess and I love it so much. I need to read the rest of this series… Also it’s brilliantly written and at times hilarious and so exciting and edge-of-your seat, and the CHARACTERS are just the best.

20Frederica

Frederica – Georgette Heyer

5starratingI don’t read regency romance that often, but this one was so much fun. The family dynamics in this were the best, it was sort of like E. Nesbit meets Jane Austen sort of thing… But the hero, Lord Alverstoke, was one of those kind of awful characters you love all the same (looking at YOU, Howl…) and he and the heroine and her siblings were just… awwwk, the best. *flails around* There is also a hot air balloon. What is not to love. Shenanigans and romance ensue. It’s fabulous and I need to read more of this author.

Do you have a comfort zone/genre of books that you tend to read? Do you step out of it sometimes and are the results good or bad?

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer